LOS ANGELES (AP) – The NBA has postponed the Los Angeles Lakers’ next game against the Clippers on Tuesday night after the deaths of retired superstar Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others in a helicopter crash.
The Los Angeles Lakers issued a statement Monday afternoon, thanking fans for the support and condolences.
“This is a very difficult time for all of us,” the team said on Twitter. “We continue to support the Bryant family and will share more information as it is available.
The league announced the decision Monday to cancel the team’s next game.
The NBA also issued a statement on social media Monday, saying the Lakers organization is “deeply grieving the tragic loss of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people in a helicopter crash on Sunday.”
Bryant’s helicopter crashed Sunday, and the Lakers learned about it while flying home from an East Coast road trip. LeBron James and several other players appeared to be visibly affected by the news when they got off the plane.
The Lakers organization hasn’t made a public statement about Bryant’s death, choosing to mourn in private. The 16-time NBA champion franchise made grief counselors available to employees Monday after the loss of Bryant, who spent his entire 20-year NBA career with the Lakers.
Dwight Howard is the only current Lakers player who played with Bryant, but the players all knew him. Bryant had attended a handful of Lakers games in recent years with his daughter, Gianna, who also died in the crash in Calabasas, California.
The NBA says the game between the Los Angeles rivals will be rescheduled later.
The next game on the Lakers’ schedule is Friday night at home against Portland.